Day 41/365 - On adultery
Just finished another brilliant work by a favorite author of mine, Paulo Coelho, this one intriguingly titled Adultery. Other books by him I highly recommend are 11 Minutes, Witch of Portobello, and his prized The Alchemist. I'm sure any book you pick up of him will be a favorite page-turner, because the books all have an alluring theme that seems to vibrate on the same wavelength as our soul. The overwhelming common thread in the novels that I was able to pick up on is this: to listen to our inner voice, have faith, and discover all the love that exists in and outside of us.
Adultery is told from the first person perspective of a woman in her thirties living in Geneva, Switzerland. She knows that objectively she seems to have it all: beauty, interesting job as a journalist, warm home, and finally a loving/understanding/rich husband and wonderful kids. However, this knowledge just seems to make her feel even more guilty for feeling depressed and stuck in a monotonous routine, with no more or less happiness than the day before. While conducting an interview for her newspaper, she finds herself face-to-face with an ex-boyfriend who is now a successful politician. In him, she recognizes a mirrored image of her own tortured soul, seeking excitement and pleasure among a sea of people who seem content in acting reliably as expected. After several adventurous yet stressful meetings later, the two finally kindle a forbidden romance (both are happily married), where she realizes that it means completely different things for each of them. As a woman, she can't help falling in love and wants that love to extend to the physical expression of it; for him, it seems a routine to seek extramarital relations and do things he normally wouldn't with his wife.
The main character struggles with her feelings throughout the novel, torn between taking a chance she is worthy of and keeping all the good things already in her life: her family. She knows it's wrong, but she can't help the feelings of love that resurface when she looks at the man who used to be her crush when she was an innocent teen, and has now blossomed into a powerful man, who has the same struggles with depression as she does. She eventually becomes obsessive, possessive and jealous of this man, though she has no right to. She finally seeks help from psychiatrists, who turn out to be no help at all, and ends up finding the answers from a foreign shaman/healer. He tells her to listen to her soul and her desire, and when she reaches the manifestation of her dreams she will finally realize where she belongs.
During the entire fiasco, her husband is incredibly insightful, supportive and sensitive. At first it drives her wild, but then she understands that he has his own demons to contend with. He is just as human as her, but his love for her is so pure and sure that he is choosing to stay by her side no matter what, and willing to wait for her and anchor her. He doesn't show his jealousy because he is respectful to her feelings. At the end, she discovers that only love will save her from sorrow in her soul. Love of all of nature surrounds us at all times, if we just open up and pay attention. We all go through cycles, and there's beauty in each of the parts of the journey we lead.